Clinical Edge

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Educating Athletes About Sunscreen Proves Useful

J Am Acad Dermatol; ePub 2017 Oct 6; Ally, et al

Following the Stanford University Network for Sun Protection, Outreach, Research, and Teamwork (SUNSPORT) intervention, student athletes (SAs) were significantly more likely to use sunscreen, especially if encouraged by their coach, a recent study found. A survey of sun protection beliefs and practices was administered to National Collegiate Athletic Association athletes before and after intervention. A total of 846 athletes were surveyed between September 23, 2012, and September 20, 2015. SUNSPORT dermatologists educated SAs, coaches, and athletic trainers (ATs) regarding skin cancer risk and prevention methods. The main outcome was frequency of sunscreen use by SAs before vs after intervention. Researchers found:

  • After intervention, significant increases were observed in sunscreen use ≥4 days per week by SAs (from 26% to 39%), SAs spoken to by their coach about sun safety (from 26% to 57%), and SA recognition of higher skin cancer risk (from 54% to 67%).
  • This study emphasizes that education directed to SAs, ATs, and coaches can improve sun-protective practices in SAs.


Ally MS, Swetter SM, Hirotsu KE, et al. Promoting sunscreen use and sun-protective practices in NCAA athletes: Impact of SUNSPORT educational intervention for student-athletes, athletic trainers, and coaches. [Published online ahead of print October 6, 2017]. J Am Acad Dermatol. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2017.08.050.